The old etatist telecommunications order is presently experiencing radical changes, which seems to be deeper and broader than in any other sector. The paper examines the implications of these changes on the economic role of the state. It identifies regulation as an increasingly important mode of government intervention in the economy. The regulatory arsenal that states use to restructure global telecommunications includes new regulation, deregulation, and reregulation. The paper distinguishes two types of regulation aimed at the introduction of competition and the creation of markets: regulation-of-competition and regulation-for-competition. While the first type is a liberal form of intervention which aims to correct 'market creation' by the state. The critical place of regulation-for-competition in the governance of the new telecommunications regime underlines the rise of a 'competition state,' interpreted here as a refined and updated version of the neomercantilist state.